This is Not a Lehman Moment!

Certainly stock market declines of the nature that we have experienced in the past couple ofStockMarket days are unnerving.  Recollection of the 2007-2009 market decline is very fresh in investors’ minds. It is important to keep these events in perspective. The previous decline was a reaction to a financial system on the brink, a real crisis in confidence in the entire financial system. This is not the case today. In other words, this is not a Lehman moment!

So, what is going on?
>      This is merely a reset of global growth expectations. It’s becoming clear that the global economy, likely in part due to demographics, is going to be in a much slower growth pattern than has historically been the case.
>      If global economic growth is lower, then future earnings growth must be lower too. Earnings are what moves stock prices and that’s why stocks are going lower, to reset to new lower growth expectations.
>      Good news is that U.S. earnings expectations are not very high anyway, however, everyone has been suspicious of China’s reported economic data and given all the actions the government has been taking to stabilize growth, the suspicions are confirmed and China is likely growing slower than previously thought.
>      Market valuation is not at the same high level that it was in 2007, it is much more reasonable.
>      Our economy is still growing steadily. Our largest trading partners are Canada, China, and Mexico. China’s citizens are not heavily involved in their stock market so our exports to China may not even be impacted too much.
>      U.S. new home sales in July were at their highest level since July 2007; auto sales are at best pace in a decade; labor market improved.
>     Europe has become more stable despite Greece’s Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras’ recent resignation.  European growth is firming, but certainly not robust. Recent Eurozone PMI came in at 54.1, signaling the best expansion in some time for the manufacturing sector.
>     U.S. has gone 1,418 calendar days without a 10% correction, the 3rd longest in the past 50 years. The DOW and S&P 500 have now corrected 10% from their May 2015 highs. 10% corrections are normal and healthy, even though they do not feel very good, especially when they happen as quickly as this one.
>     The Fed has not been clear on its direction and that has spooked markets as well. Market volatility may push off a rate hike until at least December.
>     Most portfolios are diversified and are not fully invested in stocks. Bonds have rallied so that side of your portfolio should have gained in value to help offset equity declines.

Investors in the equity markets know that long term value is achieved only when a long term perspective can be maintained. Volatility like this is difficult to tolerate over the short term but might be easier if the media was as vocal about the gains in your bond portfolio that were serving to mitigate some of the short term equity declines.

Investment and insurance products are: not Alpine Bank products, not FDIC insured; not guaranteed; and, may be subject to investment risk, including possible loss of principal.

 

Jennifer Sipes Promoted to Branch Manager in Roscoe

Jennifer Sipes

Jennifer Sipes

Pat Peterson, Senior Vice President, is pleased to announce Jennifer Sipes has been promoted to Branch Manager of the Roscoe branch, located at 5023 Rockrose Court.

Ms. Sipes began her career in the financial industry 14 years ago.  In 2005, she joined the Alpine Bank family as a teller, after which she held positions as Teller Supervisor and Assistant Branch Manager.

Born and raised in Northern Illinois, Ms. Sipes understands the needs of the community she serves.  She is currently a member of Alpine Kiwanis, volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association and volunteer with the Hononegah High School – Readiness in the Workplace Program.  Ms. Sipes can also be seen volunteering at numerous Alpine Bank events.

Unexpected Costs of Having a Baby

There is a lot to prepare before your bundle of joy arrives, including your finances!

There is a lot to prepare before your bundle of joy arrives, including your finances!

July and August are the two most popular months of the year for having a baby. While a baby brings great joy and love to their family, having a baby can also add stress to your finances. These days, many parents are spending roughly $12,000 on their baby in its first year alone. From doctor’s expenses to furniture and supplies, having a baby is certainly not easy on your bank account.

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Alpine Bank Community Shred Day Coming to Roscoe

iStock_000002827290LargeAlpine Bank and Paper Recovery Service Corporation, a secure shredding solutions company, are partnering together again to hold Alpine Bank’s annual fall Community Shred Day on Saturday, September 12, 2015, from 9 a.m. to Noon in the parking lot of Alpine Bank’s Roscoe Branch at 5023 Rockrose Court, in Roscoe. This will be the first time since 2011 that  Alpine Bank has held a shred day at this location.

Alpine Bank Community Shred Day is a FREE event open to the entire community. Attendees will be able to drop off their documents at the “shredding drive-thru” and watch Paper Recover shred them during the event on site free of charge – all without leaving the comforts of their vehicle.

People are invited to bring a maximum of 2 boxes of the following materials to be shredded: clean paper of any color, file folders of any color, papers containing staples, paper clips, rubber bands, and/or small binders. Materials that cannot be shredded include: trash, cardboard, telephone books, hardcover books, hanging folders, 3-ring binders, lever-arch binders, and any plastics, including computer disks, CDs, DVDs, VCR tapes, ID badges, x-rays, transparencies, etc.

Nearly 9 million people are affected by identity theft each year.  According to the FTC, “Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve.”  With over 4 million tons of junk mail received by Americans each year, there are millions of documents which contain your personal information.  In addition, most Americans still receive paper documents for bank accounts, utility bills, credit cards, etc.  When these documents are discarded, the risk of having your information stolen by a “dumpster diver” drastically increases.  By taking steps, such as shredding to protect yourself, you can potentially lessen this threat.

Alpine Bank hosts two Community Shred Days each year – one in the spring and one in the fall.

For more information about protecting your self from identity theft, visit https://www.bankalpine.com/security-privacy.

About Paper Recovery Service Corporation
Based in Loves Park, IL, Paper Recovery Service Corporation provides solutions from secure document destruction to recycling for businesses in manufacturing, retail, or professional services.

Protecting Yourself While Traveling with Debit & Credit Cards

Practicing safe debit and credit card habits can help protect you and your family from theft and fraud while on vacation.

Practicing safe debit and credit card habits can help protect you and your family from theft and fraud while on vacation.

 

Summer is a popular time to take a vacation and travel to new places.  Since traveler’s checks have become a thing of the past, the easiest way to bring cash on your vacation is by using a credit or debit card.  Although using plastic is more convenient while on your vacation, the risk of theft or loss can often be greater.

Whether you are traveling a few hours away or planning a major trip through Europe, Alpine Bank wants you to know how to travel safely with your credit and debit cards.

  • Contact your bank before you leave to let them know you will be traveling with your credit or debit card.  It is important to include where you will be going as well as how long.  If you don’t let us know this information, we may suspect the activity on your account is theft, not you having fun on your vacation!
  • Always keep your credit/debit card in a safe compartment. Whether you are staying within the country or going overseas, always keep your card in a secure bag or wallet.  Invest in a quality bag/wallet that can be zipped shut, or a front pocket wallet for extra protection against pickpockets.
  • Set up a travel specific account with your bank.  It might be beneficial to have a special travel card set up to a separate travel account, in case of an unfortunate theft or loss while on vacation.  A travel account would minimize your risk of total loss.

While on vacation, you should be relaxing and having fun!  Properly preparing your credit/debit cards will help you have the vacation that you deserve this summer.  As always, Alpine Bank is here for you if you have any more questions about traveling safely with credit and debit cards.

Feel free to give us a call or stop in any time!

 

Alpine Bank

Member FDIC

Equal Housing Lender

Alpine Bank Announces Junior Golfers for Pro-Am Foursome

Playing golf, ball on tee and golf club. Vintage, retro styleAlpine Bank has selected four up and coming golfers to play in the Alpine Bank foursome at this year’s Rockford Pro-Am on Monday, July 13, 2015. Alpine Bank is pleased to announce that its foursome will include: Adam Norwood, Jesse Slattery, Harrison Engelbrecht, and Carson Racich.

Alpine Bank returns this year as a prime sponsor of the Rockford Pro-Am. The bank is choosing to fill its foursome with young, aspiring golfers, giving them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in such a prestigious event alongside golf professionals. In April of this year, the bank extended a special invitation to young golfers to apply to play in the Alpine Bank foursome. The application process involved an application where applicants noted their golf skill/ability, extracurricular activities and a personal statement explaining how playing at the Rockford Pro-Am would benefit them. In addition, each applicant was asked to submit a one-page letter of recommendation from a non-family member (i.e. coach, teacher, mentor, etc.). Fifteen junior golfers from the area applied to play. A selection committee reviewed the applications.

“I would like to thank all of the young golfers who applied.  There skill levels were very impressive and any one of them would’ve made a great addition to our team.” said Matt Roegner, executive vice president of Alpine Bank.

In the coming weeks, Alpine Bank will choose the PGA Pro Golfer who will play alongside these talented individuals.  Last year’s foursome, with Kenny Perry, took first place in the tournament, marking the first time our foursome has taken that honor.

Alpine Bank will be hosting a special luncheon for the foursome players, as a special thank you and to become acquainted with one another.  Following the luncheon, the players will be treated to a round of golf at Rockford Country Club.

About Rockford Pro-Am 
Beginning in 1977, The Rockford Pro-Am is the nation’s longest-running, free-standing pro-am not associated with a professional tournament. This year it will be held at Rockford Country Club on Monday, July 13, 2015, and will feature amateur foursomes paired with professional golfers. The foursomes play in a best-ball handicapped format, while the pros keep straight 18-hole scores. Cost is $10 and tickets are available at the gate. For more information, visit www.therockfordproam.com.

About Alpine Bank
Alpine Bank is a locally owned financial institution serving Winnebago, Boone, and DeKalb counties with a total of 15 locations in Rockford, Belvidere, Cherry Valley, Kirkland, Loves Park, Machesney Park, and Roscoe, Illinois. Founded in 1908, Alpine Bank offers a variety of financial products and services for consumers, small businesses, agricultural businesses and commercial companies and provides investment and financial services through Alpine Trust & Investment Group. Alpine Bank is committed to being a bank you can actually like. For more information, visit www.bankalpine.com.

Creating Your First Budget

Organizing your finances as early as possible can help you begin to build wealth and avoid debt.

Organizing your finances as early as possible can help you begin to build wealth and avoid debt.

 

So, you’ve graduated college, got the job, and now have a steady income.  Congrats! For many, setting up bank accounts, starting for retirement, and investing can seem like the most confusing thing in the world.  However, it is very important to start learning how to spend your money BEFORE you even have it.  In other words, create a budget!

Don’t worry, Alpine Bank is here to help you get started.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating that first budget.

  1. Find out where your money is currently going. Identify your income and what you have to spend, identify what you currently spend your income on, and identify what you needto spend your income on.  This may take you a while to figure out and can get frustrating, but stick with it. Thankfully, there are many checklists out there that can help you easily organize this part of the budget.
  2. Evaluate your long-term financial goals and big purchases that are soon to come.  Retirement is huge here!  Although that is years away, the sooner you start saving the more time it has to grow.  Also, are you planning on buying a house within the next 10 years? Want a new car? This is where you can start saving and planning for big purchases and invest in your long term goals.
  3. Create an emergency fund.  An emergency fund can help cushion the blow for those unexpected events that tend to happen.  Car repairs and home repairs can be unexpected costs that an emergency fund can help cover.  An Alpine Bank representative can also help to get your emergency account set up.
  4. Stay on Track!  It will be difficult at first.  Learning to stay on a budget is hard work, but it will help you to reach your financial goals and be in control of your money.  Keep this in mind: if you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then later you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

Many households in the United States spend more than they even make and create bad financial habits.  Don’t let this be you!  Alpine Bank can help your manage your money by setting up the new accounts you may need.  Don’t wait any longer, stop in today!

 

Alpine Bank

Member FDIC

Equal Housing Lender